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Screening of EMS-induced NaCl-tolerant mutants in Cucurbita moschata Duchesne ex Poir

Xuejin Chen, Weili Guo, Lina Jiang, Sikandar Hayat, Bihua Chen, Pengming Yang, Junguo Zhou, Xinzheng Li and Yaobo Bai

Salinity is one of the major constraints that impair plant growth and ultimately limits crop productivity. Growing salt-tolerant crops is thought to be an efficient strategy to make use of the saline land. Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) is an economically important and worldwide cultivated vegetable. EMS (ethyl methanesulfonate), as a mutagenic agent, has been widely used to increase genetic variability in crop breeding. In this study, we designed a screen of NaCl-tolerant mutants induced by EMS in Cucurbita moschata. Two NaCl-tolerant mutants were screened under NaCl stress and further identified using physiological and biochemical parameters. As the result of genetic analysis, we deduced that the NaCl-tolerant mutant phenotype was controlled by QTLs. This research provides the protocol of mutant screening and new sources for salt-tolerant cultivar breeding in pumpkin. The mutants can also be used to better understand the salt-tolerance mechanism in plants.

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